Odd Bits

There Was and There Was Not

December 16, 2014

As I’ve mentioned in the past, historical subjects sometimes track me down, screaming “learn more about me, dagnabbit!” Over the last few years, the Armenian genocide *–and the controversies surrounding the existence of that genocide in modern Turkey–has been tracking me down in an on-again off-again way. I first became aware of the genocide, and […]

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And we have a winner! (Two, actually)

December 6, 2014

Thanks to all of you who took the time to throw your names in to the medium size mixing bowl to win a copy of Chris West’s A History of America in 36 Postage Stamps or his earlier foray into history through philately. As always when I do a give-away, I learn something from your […]

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Stopping to Give Thanks

November 25, 2014

It’s almost Thanksgiving and things are hopping at Margin Central. The first out-of-town guests have arrived. I have turkeys thawing in the refrigerator* and lists of my lists on the kitchen bulletin board. It’s going to be a busy few days, so I’m taking this week off from blogging. But I wanted to take a […]

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On War, the Symposium– Year 2

November 14, 2014

Last week My Own True Love and I attended the Pritzker Military Library’s second annual On War Military History Symposium.  Last year’s symposium blew me away.   Perhaps I’m a little jaded since I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading, writing, and thinking about World Wars I and II, but this year wasn’t quite […]

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Time Traveler Tours and Tales

November 11, 2014

I met Sarah Towle in an on-line class last year.  We were quick to realize that we had interests in common beyond the scope of the class: history, story, travel, and the place where all three meet.  At the time, Sarah was in the process of developing an intriguing form of e-history*:  an interactive travel/story […]

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The Thrill of the Vote

November 4, 2014

This post first ran on election day in 2008. My feelings on the subject haven’t changed: It’s election day in Chicago. I just walked home from voting for a new mayor and a new alderman–and I miss my old neighborhood. For ten years I lived in South Shore: a white graduate student/small business owner/writer in […]

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When You Take A Road Trip Through History, You Need Luggage

October 28, 2014

One of the ways you can tell that your blog is starting to gain an audience* is that you start to get random offers of content from people you don’t know. Most of it is inappropriate (though I was tempted by the gorgeous interactive map of the kingdoms in Game of Thrones). Some of it […]

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In Which I Stop Reading And Start Writing

September 5, 2014

Yesterday I reached that undefinable moment in my current project when it is time to stop reading and start writing. For smaller projects, the moment when I’m ready to make the leap is obvious. Sometimes I reach the point where I’m not learning anything new about my subject. Other times I reach the less satisfactory* […]

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In which I set down my road map and consider the globe

August 26, 2014

My Own True Love and I recently decided to cancel our Great River Road Trip. It was a good decision; our old cat and our old house both require our attention and the Mississippi will still be there come spring. Under the circumstances, it seems appropriate to consider a bigger picture than road signs, road […]

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Salt

August 22, 2014

Anyone who sat through a third grade social studies lesson learned that Europe’s search for pepper changed the world. Prince Henry the Navigator, Columbus, and all that. But did you know that salt played an even bigger role in world history? Unlike pepper, we can’t live without salt. It is as essential to life as […]

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